The Brisbane teenager was seen in Townsville last week, with the Cowboys playing a straight bat in not confirming whether Coates or his management had met with North Queensland representatives.
Coates had a sensational second season at Red Hill in 2020, making his Origin debut with Queensland in what was a stunning series win under Wayne Bennett.
Cowboys football boss Michael Luck said Coates was the exact type of player the club remain keen on to add to their rebuild.
“We know he is off contract and he is a wonderful player and we are always interested in players of that calibre,” Luck said.
“He is a wonderful young talent, he was great for the Broncos and excellent for Queensland in the State of Origin series.”
Coates has strong connections with the northern regions of the nation, being born in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and growing up in Cairns.
Despite being in Kevin Walters’ plans for the 2021 season, Coates will have plenty of options for his future with rival clubs able to discuss potential moves for the young winger.